By Johnny Walker
It seems to be the year for major domestic fights in the UK, as hot on the heels of the announcement that undefeated giant Tyson Fury will square off with veteran David Haye, we now have another blockbuster on the way, as IBF and WBA super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch (31-2, 22 KOs) has agreed to take on undefeated fellow Brit George Groves.
According to ESPN.com, the fight will take place at a venue to be determined in late November or early December.
Froch, fresh off of a rematch win over rival Mikkel Kessler of Denmark (Kessler won the first meeting in his hometown), had been looking to either break the deadlock with Kessler or even the score with American champion Andre “Son of God” Ward, who he lost to in the Super Six final held in Atlantic City in a strangely subdued performance. So far, Ward has proven extremely reticent when it comes to fighting on foreign soil, and turned down the chance to take on Froch in England.
But now those fights will have to wait until 2014, as Froch takes care of business at home. Groves (19-0, 15 KOs) has worked his way into a mandatory position for a title shot, and Froch has no intention of giving up his championship belts.
In fact, Froch has already started to ramp up the tension between the two camps by noting that Groves is trained by the notorious and impish Adam Booth, who also is the manager/trainer of mouthy UK heavyweight David Haye, the man who infamously refused to engage when he ran up against world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Froch is already intimating that Booth may have the same plan in mind for Groves.
“George has Adam Booth in the corner, the master tactician as he calls himself, so we’ll see what his tactics are,” the typically snarky Froch told Sky Sports.
“He’ll listen to ‘Too Smooth Booth’ and will probably get on his back foot, box and move around the ring. The fans want to see a fight, so do your moving and boxing for three or four rounds, but don’t make it a running and hiding mission.
“Stand and fight, because you can have a tear-up when you want one. Let’s give the fans what they want. We’re not best mates, we don’t socialise together.”
Groves tried to turn the tables and shot back that Froch is merely afraid of the strategies that he and Booth are contemplating.
“I have a few variations on how to approach this fight, while Carl is one dimensional and likes to walk forward and brawl,” said Groves.
“It’s worked well for him so far, but why is he already asking me to conform to a certain style of fighting?
“I didn’t expect to hear this much desperation this early in the buildup to the fight whereby he is adamantly pushing for me to fight one particular style.”
Froch was also apparently put out when fellow Brit Groves went to Denmark to help Kessler prepare for Froch-Kessler II, even though he downplays it now.
“A lot of fighters wouldn’t do it, but George chose to be selfish and it’s a selfish sport, so fair play to him,” said Froch.
“We’re promoted by the same promoter but we don’t hang out and rarely talk. He came under a lot of stick for working against a stablemate and British fighter, but it wasn’t the biggest crime of the century.”
Then again, Froch will be looking for anything to get an edge, to pump himself up against a fellow Brit. And Groves’ “betrayal” of a countryman will be one of those elements.
No doubt, the trash-talking and mind games for this one has only just begun.